Re: [Rhythmbox-devel] Re: usage question

Unique usage scenarios such as this are becoming somewhat of a
reoccurring theme on this list.  Rhythmbox is a music player for people
who listen to music, and unfortunately people listen to, store, etc.
music in different ways.  While I agree that it would be possible to
come up with one or two common main scenarios that would address the
mythical average user, it seems that there are a significant number of
users left out by this approach.  Rhythmbox is not the only piece of
software to face this issue either, and I think some lessons can be
learned from other projects and their approach to handling it.

I think a great example is the world of post-mozilla web browsing.  In
the Gnome world there are three main browsers who approached this

Historically the first of these was Galeon.  It began lean and slick,
but fell prey to featuritis.  It tried to be the one browser for
everyone.  When it was time to change toolkits to Gtk2, the task of
moving every feature was too great, it stumbled, and has all but died

The second is Firefox (Phoenix, Firebird).  It it aimed to be lean and
slick, but took usability as a cause and rallying point.  The difference
here was that the authors decided to build an application towards a
select usage scenario for the average user, but also built an extension
architecture.  So when obscure or niche features are begged for the
authors can say "Ummm, no.  But you can write an extension."  There is
now a rich library of extensions to meet a variety of niche needs from
web development to browsing pr0^h^h^hphoto galleries.  

Next the now official Gnome web browser is Epiphany.  Born out of
Galeon, Marco sought usability with near religious fervor.  It nailed
the average use scenario well, but completely left out niche users.
Other than text editors I would argue that this is probably one of the
most often replaced pieces of core Gnome software, because of this. Now,
it also uses an extension system, and is just beginning to gather a
collection of usable extensions, although much more difficult to install
than Firefox's.

So what am I getting at here?  What I mean to say is that I think that
Rhythmbox should focus on a core set of features, but find a way to
allow users to extend the software, and share these extensions.  I think
ideally the extension system would be done, so that extensions are
written in a scripting language such as Python, where installation
consists of dropping in files so as to avoid Epiphany's pitfall, but
even compiled C extensions would be better than none.  

The cost of this would be the development time, exposing parts of
Rhythmbox to some sort of accessible API.  The benefits would be great,
however.  Development on Rhythmbox could continue focused, with
extension writers addressing niche issues, and features that are
difficult to develop "the right way" (eg. an extension for tag editing
with a crappy UI until it can be done right).  Say an extension becomes
surprisingly popular, or addresses an unforeseen issue.  Then it could
be carefully implemented in core Rhythmbox.  This allows for a great
deal of experimentation and inventiveness without risking the core
codebase and helps to avoid the problem of Rhythmbox re-inventing itself
once a year and spending the rest of the year trying to stabilize. 

Think of the variety of issues this could cover: portable music players,
CD playing, Samba or NFS mounts for laptops, tag editing, file name
based metadata, etc.  Rather than experimenting with these in core
Rhythmbox and putting all users at risk, these could be developed and
mature as extensions.  If later deemed useful to most, and after
conceptionally maturing, they could then be integrated in the core
Rhythmbox feature set.

Anyway, this is becoming somewhat of a manifesto I know, but it was an
idea I wanted to throw out there.  I love this piece of software and
have only love for all the hard work Colin et al have put into it.  I'll
return to lurk mode now unless anyone has any questions about what I
mean (which I seriously doubt).  

--Mike Messmore

On Thu, 2004-06-03 at 08:11, Mike Frisch wrote:
> Aleksander Demko wrote:
> >Is there anyway to browse a library by file system file and/or make
> >playlists based on filesystem/directories etc?
> >
> >I have quite a bit of music, a lot of which is poorly ID3 tagged...
> >
> The latter is exactly the feature I was requesting in the thread 
> entitled "Import into a playlist?".  I hope to implement this feature, 
> but time is tight right now so I couldn't tell you when.  I will post to 
> the list if I get it done.
> Mike.
> _______________________________________________
> rhythmbox-devel mailing list
> rhythmbox-devel gnome org

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